What is a Social Security “Disability?”
In order to collect social security disability benefits, you must have a qualifying “disability.” The Merriam-Webster dictionary says that a disability is a limitation caused by mental or physical impairment that keeps a person from working.
The Social Security Administration uses a similar definition; It says that disability “is based on your inability to work.” To qualify for disability benefits, you must have a medically determinable physical or mental impairment that prevents you from working.
The Social Security Administration will consider all relevant medical and other evidence in determining if your impairment meets the definition of disability.
You may qualify for disability if the following statements belong to you…
1. You Cannot Perform the Same Jobs That You Used to Do
Social Security Disability (SSD) is a form of government-funded assistance for people who are not able to work because of a physical or mental impairment.
To be eligible for SSD, an individual must have worked in jobs covered by Social Security and have a medical condition that meets the Social Security Administration’s definition of disability.
2. You Cannot Adjust to a Different Occupation for Medical Reasons
A Social Security disability is a condition or illness that prevents an individual from engaging in any substantial gainful activity and keeps them from earning an income to support themselves.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) defines disability as the inability to engage in any “substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment which can be expected to result in death or has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months.”
This medical evidence can come from several different sources, such as doctor’ s reports, medical records and diagnostic tests. The SSA also considers how the disability affects an individual’s ability to do basic work activities like sitting, standing, walking, lifting, carrying and remembering instructions.
3. You Cannot Work and Must Have a Low Income
Social Security Disability (SSD) is a benefit program for people who have become disabled and have very low incomes. To be eligible for SSD, you must first meet the Social Security Administration’s definition of disability.
4. You Anticipate That the Disability Will Last for at Least One Year
A Social Security Disability is a federal program that provides financial assistance to people who are unable to work because of a long-term physical or mental health condition.
Examples of long-term physical conditions that may qualify for SSD include cancer, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, chronic heart failure, and rheumatoid arthritis.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) determines whether or not a person qualifies for SSD based on the severity of their condition and the expected duration of their disability.
In addition to a physical impairment, an individual must also demonstrate that their disability is expected to last for at least 12 months or result in death.
Many mental health diagnosis’s may qualify an individual for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits.
Some examples of mental health diagnosis’s that may qualify for SSD include depression, anxiety,
bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and post-traumatic stress disorder.
In addition to a mental impairment, an individual must also be unable to perform any form of substantial gainful activity due to their illness.
Gaining Gainful Activity Requirement
In order to qualify for Social Security Disability claim, an individual must be unable to work and earn an income. This is known as the gainful activity requirement.
The SSA considers a person to be engaged in “substantial gainful activity” if their earnings are at least enough to support themselves and their families. If a person’s earnings do not meet this requirement,
they may be eligible for SSD benefits.
5. You Anticipate That the Disability Will Lead to Death
Illnesses that are expected to lead to death that may qualify for disability pay include cancer, heart failure, ALS, Alzheimer’s disease and other terminal illnesses.
In order to qualify for Social Security Disability benefits due to a terminal illness, you must first be diagnosed with a terminal condition.
This condition must be expected to lead to death within a certain period of time, typically 6 months or less. You must be unable to perform any form of substantial gainful activity due to your illness.
The Social Security Administration calls this a “strict” definition. In other words, it will not make allowances for short-term ailments or disabilities that do not meet these qualifications. The administration assumes that working families have the resources to support loved ones with short-term disabilities.
Other resources for short-term disabilities include:
- Workers’ Compensation
- Savings & Investments
- Insurance Coverage
Call Medicare 1-800-633-4227
Social Security Disability “Special Situations”
Although the administration provides a strict definition of “disability,” it does allow certain individuals to qualify for disability benefits who may not fall under the umbrella of “disabled.”
For example, someone who is legally blind or has low vision may be able to work and receive disability benefits. Blind people are also eligible to receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
The surviving widow or widower of a qualifying individual may be able to collect benefits as well.
In some situations, adults who suffer a disability before the age of 22 may be able to receive disability payments.
People who have severe disabilities that fall under Social Security’s Compassionate Allowances (CAL) classification will receive expedited review of their SSI/SSDI applications. There is no special application form or process for CAL applicants.
What If You Are Denied Social Security Benefits?
If your application for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits is denied, you may be able to appeal the decision. The appeals process involves submitting a written request for reconsideration or filing an administrative law judge hearing. You must submit your request within 60 days of receiving notification of the denial.
When appealing a disability claim, you should include new evidence that supports your case such as medical records, employment records or a letter from an employer. You may also want to consider hiring a disability lawyer to assist with the appeals process.
If you were denied social security benefits, you may be able to file an appeal to get the financial assistance that you need. If you need to file for benefits but don’t know where to start, speak with an attorney to learn more about your legal rights and options.
At Shook & Stone, we are committed to helping the injured and the disabled get the financial assistance that they need. If you need the assistance of Las Vegas Social Security Lawyer then call us at (702) 570-0000 or fill out the form for more information.